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Song of the Lark
by Willa Sibert Cather
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Dr. Howard Archie had just come up from a game of pool with the Jewish clothier and two travel-ing men who happened to be staying overnight in Moon-stone.
In this novel Willa Cather presents Thea Kronberg, a minister's daughter, living with her family in Moonstone, Colorado. After enrolling Thea for piano lessons, Mrs. Kronberg is told that her daughter's true talent is in the beauty of her voice when her teacher hears her sing in church. Thea leaves home to study music in Chicago where she is unaware of the city's hurrying crowds, glittering shops, and loitering men, and is drawn to the art museum and concert hall. Her ambition to become an operatic artist is set in motion, and though she is completely preoccupied with the emotional and intellectual demands put on her by the arduous training required to achieve her goal, she withstands the grueling regimen. She finds a guardian and love interest in Fred Ottenburg who sends her to Arizona to become rejuvenated. Once there she learns to submit to the physical experience and, at the same time, to control the reaction. Ten years later the reader meets Thea who has just returned from Germany and is the leading soprano of the Metropolitan Opera. Sometimes she is tempted by marriage, but art always comes before any other attraction. Cather makes it clear that the serious artist must refuse any claim to personal regard and work to fulfill the rewards of creation in solitude. Please Note: This book has been reformatted to be easy to read in true text, not scanned images that can sometimes be difficult to decipher. The Microsoft eBook has a contents page linked to the chapter headings for easy navigation. The Adobe eBook has bookmarks at chapter headings and is printable up to two full copies per year. Both versions are text searchable.
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"The time will come when she will be ranked above Hemingway." --Leon Edel
In this powerful portrait of the self-making of an artist, Willa Cather created one of her most extraordinary heroines. Thea Kronborg, a minister's daughter in a provincial Colorado town, seems destined from childhood for a place in the wider world. But as her path to the world stage leads her ever farther from the humble town she can't forget and from the man she can't afford to love, Thea learns that her exceptional musical talent and fierce ambition are not enough.
It is in the solitude of a tiny rock chamber high in the side of an Arizona cliff--"a cleft in the heart of the world"--that Thea comes face to face with her own dreams and desires, stripped clean by the haunting purity of the ruined cliff dwellings and inspired by the whisperings of their ancient dust. Here she finds the courage to seize her future and to use her gifts to catch "the shining, elusive element that is life itself--life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose." In prose as shimmering and piercingly true as the light in a desert canyon, Cather takes us into the heart of a woman coming to know her deepest self.
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